Merger Speculation and BP Prepares for Court: Morning Buzzers

U.S. stock futures edged up on Tuesday morning, taking a cue from European markets that surged following unexpectedly positive sentiment reported by German investors.

Futures at 9:00 a.m.: DJIA: +0.14%S&P 500: +0.20%NASDAQ: +0.27%.

Here’s what’s buzzing on Tuesday morning:

OfficeMax (NYSE:OMX) and Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) posted tremendous pre-market gains of 20 percent and 29 percent, respectively, after news got out that the office-supply retailers were in merger talks. Speculation that the two companies would merge has been building for a while, and analysts have suggested that such a move would be necessary in order to compete with rival Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS). Staples was also up about 13 percent in the pre-market.

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BP (NYSE:BP) was off about 1.2 percent in pre-market trading. BP is preparing to head to court because the oil and gas company failed to reach a settlement over allegations of negligence related to its operation of the Deepwater Horizon rig. If found guilty of gross negligence, the financial penalty that BP will face per barrel of oil spilled during the disaster will increase from $1,100 to $4,300.